The main attraction in this former fishing village at the mouth of the Helmsdale River is a visitor centre called Timespan, which puts on displays relating to Highland history and traditions. The centre currently has plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the instigation of the so-called Highland Clearances, one of the most regrettable episodes in the history of the British Government's activities in Scotland, which involved the forcible displacement and even genocide of large numbers of people in the Scottish Highlands during the 18th and 19th centuries in the name of agricultural "improvements".
One reminder of Helmsdale's past which is still on display is the Ice House, operated by Historic Scotland, a specially insulated building which was used to store ice for keeping the locally caught salmon fresh. In 2009 a live electronic music concert was held at the Ice House. Helmsdale marks the start of a spectacular 38 mile drive which follows the Strath of Kildonan and Strath Halladale through the peat bogs, an area known as the "Flow Country". The Kildonan Burn was once the scene of a gold rush which started in 1818 with the discovery of a gold nugget weighing about ten pennyweights, and gold panning is still on offer as a popular family activity. There is an excellent website with old pictures, history and stories about the village.
Map of the area.
© 2007 Michael Clarke, via Wikimedia Commons